Free Press Journal

Movie Review: The Hateful 8 – brutal, Violent and Bleak


Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins,Bruce Dern,Michael Madsen,Channing Tatum,Tim Roth,Damien Bichir
Director: Quentin Tarantino
The  is the eighth film  in Tarantino’s mindblowing ouevre of spotlighting wickedness.And it doesn’t disappoint despite its running length and old fashioned 70 mm format, possibly as homage to 70s cinema. Clocking three hours, The Hateful 8 is a Western set in post-Civil War Wyoming and Tarantino’s longest film with the exception of Kill Bill which was screened  in two parts. The Horrible 8 is also brutal, violent and bleak and could well have been titled “And then there were none.”
The l’enfant terrible of cinema tells the story on his own terms. A voice over narrates the story in vintage Tarantino style- chapter by chapter. The first half had set me wondering if QT had wandered into another genre: lots of talk,very little violence except for the punches that are thrown badass Daisy’s (Jennifer  Jason Leigh) way. ) “Is this how you treat women” she asks Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson,amazing), a decorated Unionist war vet who’s now a bounty hunter in the company of fellow bounty hunter John Ruth (Kurt Russell,awesome)  Ruth is transporting Daisy to the town of Red Rock to be hanged. I don’t recall the Major’s response but many, if not all African-American men abused their womenfolk as recorded (fictionally) in Alice Walker’s The Colour Purple which was adapted for the screen by Steven Spielberg.
As the coach trundles along the snow-laden landscape(gorgeously shot by QT’s fave cameraman Robert Richardson), Ruth and Warren willy nilly accomodate a frozen straggler named Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins), a Confederate (pro-slavery state) loyalist who’s also bound for Red Rock, to become the town’s new sheriff.or so he says. see,nothing can be taken at face value and deception is the name for the game for everybody, well, almost. Moving at a pace as laggardly as the stagecoach,the narrative picks up in the second half inside the strangely deserted outpost known as Minnie’s Haberdashery to be punctuated, or should I say, riddled with surprising twists of plot and character. Also,more humour of the black variety and Tarantino’s signature blood-and-gore.
Tarantino uses landscape to mirror the isolation of the characters while addressing themes of identity and  human nature: Eight of his characters are vicious,twisted creatures.Only one, the stagecoach driver is innocent but doesn’t make it. QT can be accused of  nihilism, but Scripture tells us after all, that the rain falls on the just and unjust.
He also makes his characters use the word nigger ad nauseum, ad infinitum. But QT is not racist, at least I don’t think so. For, he invests Jackson’s character with bravery, pride and intellect. (And let it be said,unforgiving vindictiveness.)
QT resolves the story at the Haberdashery with four of the characters, Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth) purportedly Red Rock’s new hangman, cowboy Joe Gage (Michael Madsen), Mexican Señor Bob (Demian Bichir), and Daisy’s brother (Channing Tatum) succumbing to their blood lust while an old Confederate general named Smithers (Bruce Dern) gets done in by prejudice. Ennio Morricone amps up the narrative with a wonderful score.And I say to Tarantino, bring it on. But how a about a little hope,faith and charity?